Senate The 2nd Term of the Obama Administration: Facts, Opinions, and Discussions

Discussion in 'Community' started by Ghost, Dec 6, 2012.

  1. dp4m Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2001
    star 9
    No, I mean it literally -- I'm not saying you're doing anything wrong at all; I'm saying if you don't like it, don't use Google, Bing, Microsoft, etc. -- don't call anyone in the US (ever). We have the Patriot Act. I'm fairly certain it doesn't apply to BT, O2, Orange, etc.-- just stay on those companies in those countries that don't. It's a pretty simple rule, no?
  2. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 5
    If there's one positive thing that came out of this, it's that liberals can still criticize Obama and Republicans can support him. :)
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  3. ShaneP Ex-Mod Officio

    Member Since:
    Mar 26, 2001
    star 6
  4. shinjo_jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 5
    I actually agree with this; as said earlier, the part of me that opposes this is based on the slippery slope of 'where does it stop?'

    But again I don't get too ahead of myself in opposing something because of the hypotheticals it could lead to.
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  5. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    This is the kind of stuff that drives me crazy: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics...ns-are-pushing-liberals-over-the-edge/276755/

    HELLO, people! Where have you been all these years? Did you not think Obama signed off on things like this early on in his presidency? I supported (and still do support) the President for reasons that mostly have to do with issues like health care, jobs, and other various social issues. I've never supported any of the surveillance stuff, but a candidate that did not support the national security apparatus as it is now could not have been elected. Still can't, I believe.

    People on the left who were blind to this don't get to be enraged, because all this stuff was always out there in one form or another. I remember well what a liberal-minded teacher I knew at the school I worked at back when Obama won in 2008 told me-- Obama will have more in common with George W. Bush when he takes office than anyone else, or something along those lines. I recognized that then and I still do. You don't just come in with some kind of blank slate-- you also inherit what existed before you, and dismantling the security state was not an option, and still isn't without a major rethinking of our national views.
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  6. Yodaminch Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2002
    star 6
    I think this was evident when he and the Democratic majority never made a move to repeal the PATRIOT Act. From then on, I figured stuff like this was bound to happen. I'm pretty much with you in that I support most of his policies, but I've never been a fan of his policies in this area, though I recognize the need for it.
  7. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Let's say they had managed to repeal the Patriot Act and taken other steps to dismantle the security state. Then let's say a major terrorist attack happens. Can anyone really tell me that the Republican party would not immediately be all over Obama and the Democrats for that? That much of the public would not be?

    That's the bottom line in my view.
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  8. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    We've known this has been going on for at least 7 years (the database of communications).

    I feel like most of the country forgot about it, has now rediscovered it, and expect those who never forgot to be just as shocked as they are. I guess it explains why the AP thing was considered a scandal by some, but I just said "they've been doing this to everyone, did the media really think they were immune?" Now I know... I gave the media too much credit. They simply forgot.

    Not saying I agree with it. I've just thought they've been doing this since the warrantless wiretap program was first discovered back in 2005. It's hard to still be just as outraged 8 years later.


    [IMG]
    Last edited by Summer Dreamer, Jun 11, 2013
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  9. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Thank you very much.
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  10. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Excruciating.

    I'm doing my goofy hillbilly voice now, and y'all deserve it.
    "Well, duh, I knew those goobers in Washington are tapping Americans' phones, so ya know, golly! The fact that they have access to private data of people all over the world... people that can't vote for or against decisions like this... doesn't surprise me!"
    Last edited by SuperWatto, Jun 12, 2013
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  11. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    What would you like us to do about it? I'm already on record as being against such things and the massive military industrial complex along with it.
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  12. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    [IMG]

    Take to the streets, protest, demand a vote... lots of options there for ya.
    Last edited by SuperWatto, Jun 12, 2013
  13. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Next election is in 2014.

    I'm interested, though-- are you prepared to back up a presidential administration that dismantled the security state and then had to deal with the aftermath of a major terrorist incident? One that perhaps the party out of power used to its advantage?

    Life is all about tradeoffs and this is one of them.

    That underlies everything about the security state in my view. If you tossed every person out of office and replaced them with someone else, they would still have to deal with that problem if they dismantled the security state. As it stands now, it can be said that the government is doing everything it can (to a plausible degree in the mainstream view, at least).
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 12, 2013
  14. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I always vote more idealistically than I really am. Because I think an election is your one shot at putting idealism to good use. That said, with the meagre options available in the US, I guess I'd have voted for Obama in 2012. This being his second term, maybe now he can finally, effectively, affect that change, I'd have thought.

    But that doesn't mean I'd support him all the way. This is really the moment of truth for him. Still no change?

    This is the guy that was elected on the promise of change. The guy who held that speech in Cairo: "So long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and who promote conflict rather than the cooperation that can help all of our people achieve justice and prosperity. This cycle of suspicion and discord must end. [...] 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year."

    Any good relationship involves a good fight now and then. If you love your president, fight him! Hold that guy responsible for his ramblings! Make him explain the deviations from the ideals he was voted into office with!

    And if he doesn't do that, vote third party in the next elections.
  15. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    How about you answer the question I posed to you earlier instead of grandstanding.

    How should a President and the party in power at the time of a major terrorist attack handle its aftermath if the security state is dismantled and much, perhaps all, of the things we've been learning about over the years that are being done in the name of national security to stop terrorism were ended? What do you say to charges of negligence and a host of other things that would no doubt be said by both politicians and ordinary citizens?

    Idealism won't cut it. Certainly not by itself, at least.

    Also, I should note (again) that the roots of the security state are deeply into the ground of both the Democratic and Republican parties. To pin it on one man alone, or one party, is ridiculous. Both parties are involved, and that means that the American people deserve a lot of the blame.

    For Obama to live up to what you ask of him, he would had to have ordered the complete dismantling of things that the NSA is doing, along with numerous other agencies upon taking office. That brings me back to my initial question-- how would the president and his or her party handle the aftermath of a major terrorist incident if the government is no longer doing everything it can, legal and perhaps otherwise, to stop terrorism?

    Republicans attacked him for being weak on terrorists for years, and many still do, along with much of the Republican base. These are not abstractions, SW. These are real problems that need accounting for, not idealism alone.
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 12, 2013
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  16. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    Obama doesn't need to live up to whatever I'd ask of him. He just needs to live up to his promise. I think it's quite cynical of you to come out and say it's too idealistic to hold a man to the promise he was elected into office with. A modern variation on 'no new taxes'?

    And I don't think it's up to me to speculate on the potential political ramifications of a hypothetical terrorist attack. But if you call putting a stop to PRISM or closing Gitmo 'dismantling the security state', then yeah, I suppose I can't convince you, because you are already talking the talk.
  17. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    I'll take that as a concession that it would be pretty much impossible for any presidential administration and the political party it belongs to to deal with the aftermath of a major terrorist attack if the national security methods that have been used for years were done away with and their agencies dismantled or curtailed.

    Obama is one man, even if he's the President. This is some of the same things that I went through with people last year, when I kept saying that it's more than just one person running for president, and more than one person who is part of an administration. There are a lot of people involved, and much of what they do endures through future administrations. Then you have the nonpartisan areas of government, which much of the national security state technically is. Some of it has lasted for decades, and goes back to presidents who are long since dead, even though things they set in motion are still with us.

    To ask Obama to "live up" to any promise is pointless in the extreme, because he is ultimately just one man. If he ordered the dismantling of the national security state as we know it, there would be ramifications and consequences from doing so, and you seem entirely unprepared to discuss any of those. Instead, it's "live up to the promise!" he made.

    That doesn't cut in in today's world. It never did, but it definitely doesn't now.

    If you're going to be saying that the national security apparatus we've come to know should be done away with, then you need to account for what happens next. Say it's done away with and it's all gone. Done with. Over. Now what? What happens next? It's not unreasonable to ask you to account for what fills the void, particularly when events could happen and will always be a threat to happen that makes that void particularly noteworthy to a lot of people in politics and throughout the country in general.

    You mentioned closing Guantanamo Bay, as do many people, but no one seems to talk about what happens to the prisoners that are housed there. No one wanted their state to take them, even in maximum security prisons. Again, these are real world problems that need accounting for, and saying "close Gitmo!" doesn't cut it.
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 12, 2013
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  18. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Not to defend KW (as I agree that his arguments here are intellectually lazy), but you are barking up the wrong tree. The NSA was established to monitor foreign communications. They've always had authorization to intercept, store, and decrypt your messages. Remember, the 4th Amendment only applies to citizens of the US and those within the jurisdiction of the United States. Outside of that, anything goes.
  19. KnightWriter Administrator Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Nov 6, 2001
    star 8
    Oh, KK. You are ever so reliable. It warms my heart to know that in an ever-changing world, some things remain the same.

    You didn't address any of SW's concerns and wrote them off. I understand his concern, and he's in a worse position than American citizens because he could have his actions monitored and he doesn't even get a vote in it. Putting it the way you did, it makes me think of something the blogger PM Carpenter said while making an analogy:

    "Your honor, the accusation that my client has been stealing for the last month is ridiculous. Why, he's been doing it for *years.*"

    What we do as a country, an what we don't do, affects people around the world. I get where SW is coming from there.
    Last edited by KnightWriter, Jun 12, 2013
  20. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    I made a very valid point. The NSA exists to monitor foreign communications. It was established for the express purpose of communications intelligence gathering. It's been around for over 50 years with that mission.

    Legally speaking, there is no difference between the NSA intercepting, logging, and decrypting Soviet military communications during the height of the Cold War and intercepting, logging, and decrypting private communications between two Europeans both located in Europe. Intercepting SuperWatto's communications with someone in France is legally indistinguishable from intercepting Al Qaeda's communications between someone in Pakistan and someone in Yemen.

    The new revelations about the NSA are irrelevant for him, because they've always had the authority (and the ability) to go much farther with his communications.
  21. EvilQ Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2013
    star 1
    [rhetorical question]So, which corporate fascist conglomerate will you be voting for next election? What violations of the constitution will you endorse?[/rhetorical question]
    Last edited by EvilQ, Jun 12, 2013
  22. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I think it's a valuable remark from KK there - just a little bizarre.

    What if I said: you shouldn't be surprised if the Dutch government reads your emails, they've always had the authority to do so.

    Wouldn't you be thinking: "they have no business in my inbox?"
    Wouldn't you be thinking: "what makes the Dutch government so special that they get to check my mail?"

    Look, the paranoia is nothing new. We've known about that since the Cold War. But no, I wasn't aware that they can search through my Facebook and Whatsapp messages. That was not known. It's news. The paranoia has reached a new depth. And the depth is vast; Google, Apple, and Facebook are not just American companies. Together, they facilitate the bulk of today's global internet traffic. As a business, I can't function properly anymore without a Google account, they've monopolized SEO. In my field of work, graphic design, Apple provides 80% of the hardware. Facebook, I guess I could do without, but what's the first alternative that comes to mind? Right... Google.

    It's the paranoia that makes the US such a glorious target for terrorism in the first place. If you play world police without working from an objective standpoint, you create enemies.

    It was pointed out in the other thread that, even with the heavy security apparatus the US has today, terrorist attacks still happen. This plain fact needs to be recognized. By all parties. Taught. Accepted. It needs to be recognized that other nationalities will treat you the way you treat them. Once all that is understood, the paranoia can melt away. And concerns for a political aftermath will lessen.
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  23. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    You forget, I work in information security, and I'm a contractor supporting a civilian federal agency. Honestly, I expect that other nations might have interest in trying to read/access my emails. One of the major issues that I address at work is the threat of foreign hackers. (We had some apparently Chinese hackers compromise servers in the same data center my servers are in. They weren't my servers, but I got to help deal with the fallout.)

    I have absolutely no illusions when it comes to such things. There are significant reasons why I don't use most social media networks. I won't touch Facebook or Google+. I don't use online storage and avoid "cloud" services where possible. I try very hard not to give out any information online that I don't want to be public.

    That's simply the reality of the world that we live in. People will tend to work in what they perceive is their own self interest. That tendency is even greater when you are talking about nation states.
    Last edited by Kimball_Kinnison, Jun 12, 2013
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  24. Vaderize03 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Oct 25, 1999
    star 5
    Not only that, but the degree of outrage and willingness to intervene in human rights abuses tends to vary with the value of the business interests to the United States of the region in question. When Presidents have tried to step outside that mold, the American public has shown a remarkable lack of tolerance for casualties and high monetary cost.

    In other words, Africa =/= The Middle East.

    I also agree that the ACLU suit will go nowhere; the Supreme Court is going to hold up this one, probably with a 6-3 majority.

    Peace,

    V-03
  25. Kimball_Kinnison Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    In case anyone is interested, I found this piece linked to from a firearms-related blog that I follow. It does an excellent job of showing how you can derive "private" data from a relatively limited set of data.

    For those who are too lazy to click the link, it takes a list of 7 organizations from Colonial America and 254 people who were members of at least one of those organizations. From that data, the article walks you through how to derive the underlying social network(s) in that data and how to identify the key people in the overall network. (Specifically, the article identifies one "Paul Revere" as a significant person of interest in a terror network undermining the authority of the Crown.)

    The problem that we encounter in society today is that this sort of analysis is now economically feasible on a large scale, and you can do it using public data to figure a lot of things out that would previously be considered private. You can't make this sort of information available to the public without it also being available to the government.